Sunday, December 27, 2009

Uses For Old Christmas Cards

I love Christmas cards. They often serve as a connection to family and friends who you get in contact with once a year. There is something profoundly touching about opening your mailbox and finding cards from friends and family who have remembered you with a simple card signed with their name, a newsletter detailing family news for the year, or a picture card with smiling faces of children.

I know, there are those of you sitting there reading this chanting "tree killer" in your mind. Yes, I hate the thought of how many trees I have harmed with my addiction to sending Christmas cards or the joy I receive from getting them in the mail. I try to be "green" in other ways and I try to recycle my cards so that there is some attempt at balancing the impractical with the practical. This year I got my family's picture cards for free so I promised myself I was only going to send 50. I had to cut a lot of people off of our Christmas card list. Since we've been married, I send cards to everyone in our address book. The guilt weighed heavily on my mind when on Christmas Eve we received several cards from people whom we had omitted this year.

Every year I tell myself I will send e-cards next year, but I never do. I just can't bring myself to not send our family and friends something tangible to hold that is from our family and hopefully will bring a smile to their face as they hold it in their hands.

Don't Pitch Them, Use Them: 
Uses for old Christmas cards

Lacing cards
These are perfect for little ones.  All you need to do is punch holes in the outer part of the card and give your young ones shoelaces or ribbons (with scotched taped ends to help them thread it through the holes).  You will have quiet for at least 20 minutes.

I picked up inexpensive clear plastic square photo frame magnets last year for a jewelry party I was hosting.  Cut squares from your Christmas cards and put them in the frames.  They look festive but elegant hanging on the fridge.  They can also double as coasters.

      See above.

      If you do Christmas crackers, you can fill them with confetti (punched from old Christmas cards) or use confetti for New Year's.

      My grandmother crochets.  She made fans for our church using old church bulletins, cardboard/card stock, and yarn.  If you use old Christmas cards (since they are heavier than plain paper), you would not need to use card stock.   Punch holes in the outer part of the cards, all the way around just like with the lacing cards.  Crochet around the cards using the holes to anchor the yarn to the cards. 

      Using decorative punches or just cutting out words or pictures, you can use them to decorate the pages of your scrapbooks.  This will actually cut down on the costs of supplies if you are an avid scrapbooker but also help preserve memories of cards family and friends have sent.

      All you need to do is cut out pictures and paste them onto wood, glass, or metal with a decoupage medium, and then cover them with a couple coats of the decoupage medium.  When dry, apply an acrylic sealant and you will have a beautiful craft that will look more labor intensive than it really was.

      Gift tags
      This is one of my favorite uses for Christmas cards. I have a decorative tag punch that I use for scrapbooking that I use to make these.  You could also print out a tag template that you find online and trace a tag shape and cut it out.  Then, punch a hole in the top and add a ribbon. You could also make bookmarks out of cards also.

      Pics from picture cards can be used for a children's tree (just cut out the pics in a circle, star, or some other shape, punch a hole at the top for a ribbon, and you have an instant ornament). Little ones will love seeing the faces of family and friends on their tree.  Small, inexpensive artificial trees (like those you could set on a table) could also be set aside for little ones to decorate.  You can also cut out illustrations on cards or even the words and make them into ornaments.  This is a good idea if you have young children since in their excitement they sometimes are not very gentle with fragile ornaments. You can also have your little ones make cheap foam picture frame ornaments and then put the pics inside those (like pictured here).

      The front back of most cards usually lay empty.  After the holiday, separate the front of the cards, turn them over, and place by your telephone.  Use the blank card to write phone messages. You can also use them to write messages and put them inside gifts.

      Word Magnets
      Cut up words and adhere magnets to the back for kids to make sentences out of them.  They can have some "fridge fun".

      Mini Cards
      Cut up pictures from the cards to use to make scrapbook cards for next year by gluing them onto a plain piece of folded card stock.  Decorative punches can help if you are not very good with cutting out pictures.  They can help make your cards look professional.  You can add ribbon, scrapbook paper, and whatever else you have lying around to decorate the cards.

      Collages and Placemats
      You can also cut out pictures and give them to the kids to make fun Christmas scenes.They can glue the pictures onto a piece of card stock.  If you have them use letter size card stock, you can have them laminted and you'll have fun placemats.


      Kim said...

      What great ideas! Thanks for checking out my site and following. I am now a follower of you, as well. I am looking forward to more tips.

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